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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven View Post
    Why do women always get to the job of cleaning
    Hmm . . You don't know Katie very well, having never had the opportunity of having met her. She's no more than 100 lbs soaking wet. But, she'd give you a serious ass-whupin' if you said that in her presence. she once chewed me up one side and down the other because when I first met her . . I mistakenly assumed that white wood finishing was her specialty because it was her only competency there at the plant . . and I was stupid enough to say so aloud. Katie can and has built guitars from start to finish. We affectionately refer to her as . . . "The Girl". But, in reality, she just one of the guys.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    In response to your two points of disagreement;

    I'm not at all an experienced luthier . . never claimed to be. But, I am an experienced player (just not a very skilled one) and I do know what I want an instrument to look like and play like. I referenced Johnny Smith's insistence on how a guitar should be made as causing more problems than anything else. I'm certainly no where near qualified to determine wood selection for a specific desired tone. But, I do know what I want a guitar I'm paying thousands of dollars for to look like and play like. I want [demand] having a say in that. I've told the story hear before (I love telling stories) of how JP Moats and I rummaged through virtually every set of planks they had in stock for my first build, a Golden Eagle back in 1994. JP wouldn't let me settle on the first three choices I made. He explained why . . I followed his advice. That's how one learns. That's how I gained some of the limited knowledge I have today. I've done the same and learned as much or more from Aaron Cowles. I also know how I want the neck profile on my guitars to feel . . as well as how I want the set up. These are all of the same things that one would expect to do and have a say in if sitting with Mark Campellone . . or any other individual luthier.

    Further, any luthier unwilling to warranty a guitar he/she builds if the customer supplies the wood . . . well, they just ain't worth their salt . . as the saying goes. Any competent luthier would be able to look at a set of planks and determin if they're build worthy or not. If a customer were to supply the wood to a luthier, the luthier would be free to reject that wood . . just as they are free to do so when the wood is provided to them by their existing supplier.

    Regarding point number 2; was your interaction with Jay Wolfe as intimate as it was with the other people (luthiers) you interacted with? If not . . why wasn't it? Was that Jay's fault? Or was it yours? It's all a matter of approach, in most of these situations. But, it's also sometimes a matter of a dealer who doesn't really give a hoot. "Just tell me want you want . . give me your deposit . . and I'll call you when the guitar comes in. Until that time, don't bother me" But, that's certainly not the Jay Wolfe I know. Keep in mine too, there are also independent luthiers who feel and act similarly.

    I agree that when all is said and done, Heritage is a small team producing factory made guitars. Neither they, nor I ever said otherwise. But, what would you call the current Benedetto operation? Are they too not just a small team of crafts people . . producing hand crafted guitars in a small factory environment? At any given time, there are probably around sixteen or so crafts people working a Heritage. I know of only a few who couldn't build a fine arch top entirely on their own . . and some of them actually have done so.

    I do love my Heritage guitars. But, I cherish my two Unitys, much for some of the reasons you've pointed out. It's a great feeling knowing that no ones hands other than Aaron Cowles' ever touched either of my Unitys . . until my very own did. :-)

    "Also, mere mortal individuals like myself are easily as capable of finding and buying the best wood available. I've done so myself on two separate occasions. The last one was the best. The wood I got for my Heritage Super Golden Eagle is easily equivalent to anything that Benedetto, Buscarino, Comins, Monteleone, Lacey . . or any other top luthier could have gotten.


    Patrick, we're not going to agree on this. The quote above is what I was responding to. I just plain disagree with with regard to this. Your definition of the best woods just may be different than mine.

    You claim that your wood is as good as anything that some fine luthiers could get. Aesthetically, it absolutely could be. Stability wise and sonically, who knows? I think that is where we differ. I know most of the reputable sources of hardwood as well. I know what to look for visually, but out of 20 good looking sets, a competent luthier would pick 1 or 2 based upon experience and skills that I do not possess. The best spruce purveyors in the World, guys like Rudolf Bachmann, John Griffin, Martin Guhl, John Preston, and Andrea & Stefano Rivolta sell spruce to many luthiers. They all grade it (AA, AAA etc.) but most of what they send to luthiers gets returned (not always, but frequently) because they have different skills and are evaluating different attributes of the set.

    "Further, any luthier unwilling to warranty a guitar he/she builds if the customer supplies the wood . . . well, they just ain't worth their salt . . as the saying goes. Any competent luthier would be able to look at a set of planks and determin if they're build worthy or not.

    If only Patrick.

    They can look at its attributes, they can even measure its moisture content. But stability in woods is best accomplished through long periods of seasoning. One luthier who I work with wont use any wood that hasn't been seasoning in his shop for at least 5-years. The wood that he is using on my build is well over 20-years old. Some of these woods are no longer available in the quality that he has as well. The luthiers who have said this to me certainly are "worth their salt", BTW.

    Patrick, forget the interaction aspect before and during the specification and build process. Jay is a fine guy, it is just not the same as talk with a good custom luthier. Regarding heterogeneity in quality. I will show you a 2009 Heritage that I ordered. I received a guitar that 1) was set up and released by Ren; 2) went to my dealer and was inspected before being sent to me. Keep in mind that I was a return customer at this point in time.


    Besides the badly cut nut (cut by Ren) that required replacement, please take a look at these plek scans by Phil Jacoby. You can see a 0.020" (0.5 mm) deep finger board depression (concavity) between frets 6 and 11. The tops of frets 6, 7, 8 and 9 fall below the theoretical arch because they are referenced off of the finger board depression which places them below their proper position. This is from poor workmanship when finishing the fingerboard. The person who did it and the person who inspected it just didn't give a damn. I can assure you that this depression was quite visible to the eye (like the nut) when siting the neck and not just a numeric anomaly.

    The instrument could not be plek leveled by Phil as is as a result. Phil needed to replace the fret wire in frets 6, 7, 8 and 9 with taller fret wire that was ground down to fit the width of the width of the original 6105 wire on the instrument installed by Heritage. The localized depression will always exist, but the frets were at least restored to their proper position after plek leveling.

    NO luthier that I have worked with would put their name on that guitar. To be fair, my 2001 Sweet 16 was a great guitar. No issues whatsoever. Was it as good as my custom luthier guitars? No, not by a long shot, but it was a fine guitar that I enjoyed for 11 years.

    I concur with your assessment of Benedetto guitars, albeit a smaller 5 person shop, but it is the same as Heritage in their operation. I stopped considering Bob an independent luthier many years ago.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  4. #53

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    Being a vintage Epiphone aficionado, I own and have played many older Epi carved archtops, and have found it curious that they all feature rosewood fingerboards over the more established ebony. I read that the owner of the company felt that rosewood was a better tonewood, so he used it on the entire range of instruments from student level guitars to their top of the line 18 1/2" Emperor.

    I would actually like to see high end archtops made with different woods besides ebony simply because I like their look. While I have and enjoy many guitars with ebony, I cherish my instruments with rosewood fingerboards, bridges, and tailpieces. Furthermore, I've seen examples of instruments with non standard fingerboard woods that are drop dead gorgeous.

    Here is a Ken Parker with a koa finderboard. Look at that color . . . inspiring!


  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven View Post
    Thing is Patrick, you're lucky in that regard.

    In general, like we talked about in the other thread, your not gonna get that same level of attention to things like the carving and woods etc (unless your patrick apparently).
    Yes you will.

    As a non - Patrick and "just another customer" who currently owns two and has owned two more Heritages, I can tell you unequivocally that you are wrong about this.

    You just need to ask, to be very specific about what you want, and above all, don't be a dick about it.
    If you communicate, they are all ears on Parson St. and will move mountains to get you what you want. They will also tell you that what you want might not be the best idea, but at the end of the discussion, they'll still build it for you.

    I'm on board with Patrick about Jay Wolfe as well. As I get older, I don't feel the need to buy much stuff any more, but if I want ANYTHING and Jay has the means to provide it, I'm calling him.
    Last edited by Flyin' Brian; 02-14-2015 at 02:23 PM.
    Interviewer: Musically speaking, 50 years from now, how would you like to be remembered?
    Metheny: It doesn’t matter.

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    <snip>
    Make no mistake about it . . it's not at all a burden to them, on their time. It's actually the only intellegent marketing concept they've got going for them.

    Interesting. I would not have guessed that customers are so well behaved once you crack that door and I'm glad they can get away with it without it burning too much work time.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick2 View Post
    <snip>
    I agree that when all is said and done, Heritage is a small team producing factory made guitars. Neither they, nor I ever said otherwise. But, what would you call the current Benedetto operation? Are they too not just a small team of crafts people . . producing hand crafted guitars in a small factory environment? At any given time, there are probably around sixteen or so crafts people working a Heritage. I know of only a few who couldn't build a fine arch top entirely on their own . . and some of them actually have done so.

    I'm not sure where the line is between 'small factory' and 'boutique' builders. Guess these terms would depend on the size of the operation and how much hands on the proprietor has. I don't know about now, but years ago in the flat top world Goodall, what I would call a boutique builder, was making guitars that were within sight of well made custom guitars.

    I like Heritage guitars. I have two of them bought when they were in their infancy. I like hearing about how they interact with the public and based on your description I do believe they would treat me well as long as I'm willing to politely interact. And of course then treat me even better after I shamelessly leverage my online friendship with you.

    Thing is, having had a custom flat top made, I sure would like a custom archtop. I don't think anything in guitar acquisition world matches that experience. I just need to get a grip on what it is I really want and get over being so cheap.
    Last edited by Spook410; 02-14-2015 at 04:39 PM.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  8. #57

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    Since it is such a rotten day today and we're trapped indoors, I thought that I would illustrate what I have been saying with a few real world examples. These are not for archtops, but for carved back nylon string and steel stringed guitars; but I believe they illustrate the points that I was trying to make about tonewood. Luthiers cannot resist buying particularly nice set of wood when they see it. In many cases it sits in their wood locker for decades. They literally have thousands of dollars of their money is tied up in wood over decades.

    Example #1:

    Here is set of quatersawn Honduran Rosewood that has been made into a set ready for carving. All sets in his woodlocker are labelled and dated. He has had this set since 1992 (23-years old). We chose this set among with 3 sets of Honduran Rosewood, 3 sets of African Blackwood and 3 sets of Cocobolo. Go try to find a set of quartersawn 1" thick quartersawn sets that has been seasoning for over two decades. This is an example of rare, well cut and well seasoned.





    Example #2:

    Here in a set of resawn, quartersawn Bigleaf Maple in the raw in a 2" split billet. He has had this set in his woodlocker since 1998 (17-years old). Now this is maple, and there are many nicely figured, quartersawn 6-8% kiln dried sets 1-3 years old at luthier tonewood supplier, but not nearly two-decades old. I was presented with 10 sets to choose among. Sonically, he felt they were all equal (but remember, they were selected by him) and the choice at this point was aesthetic in the end.



    Example #3:

    This is the German Spruce top to the Maple guitar. I think it is a good example of grading. This German Spruce set was purchased from Martin Guhl in 2008 (7-years ago). He graded it AA/AAA which aesthetically is pretty good by his grading system. Check out his sonic assessment of the set made 4-years later made in 2012 (supah!). We used this set based upon sonic potential. So this set is AA/AAA aesthitically by his grading (some wood purveyors would grade it much higher), he graded it AAAAA in sonic potential (or Supah!).



    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  9. #58

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    Wow! This debate between you and I is still raging on? That's great! I love it. You're dug firmly in to your understandings and I am in to mine. The great benefit to me, and possibly to you too, is that as we each offer additional info that the other perceives plausible, or implausible . . I seek to research the matter further. This to me is a beneficial part of the learning process. The benefit to fellow forumites is that they learn along with us.

    So then as I see it, you're buying totally into what your luthier is telling you about aging, or seasoning wood. (I prefer aging . . as I only season my pasta sauces ) Has your luthier explained to you what the difference between a set of planks 3, 5, 10, 20 years old might be as it relates to tonal quality prior to carving and cutting and building? Stability is established long before 2 decades . . or even a decade, if the wood is aged in a proper environment. So, my question would be, what would the difference be, sonically, between a properly aged 3 year old plank top . . and a properly aged 20 year old plank top?

    As I've come to understand the enhancement of a tonal response from wood . . it occurs mostly after the guitar is built, and as the wood continues to age with further enhancement of the resonance created by vibration . . vis-a-vs . . playing. So then the question becomes . . "how long is long enough to age wood before working with it"?. As you can see from the articles and quotes shown below, different experts have differing opinions. But, all seem to agree that the sonic transformation occurs when the wood is *adequately and properly* aged . . then played extensively.
    Here's a very interesting read on the subject;

    http://toneaging.com/Great_Tone_Origin.php

    Here is a copy and paste of another luthier's view on the matter;

    AGING AND DRYING: One of the great mystiques in luthiere is that the wood we use must be old, and naturally aged at that (i.e. air dried). This is not entirely a myth. Instrument woods must be dry. If wood has not reached a comfortable moisture equilibrium with the environment it lives in it may shrink or swell over time. This problem is worse when the guitar is placed in different conditions. The greatest danger is shrinkage from wood placed in a very dry environment, or which is insufficiently dried. Either condition will inevitably lead to cracks. Whether it is better to air dry wood, as opposed to kiln drying , is a more difficult question. Kiln drying is quicker, and therefore, cheaper. I suspect that properly done kiln drying is as good as air drying, but it is quite possible to do it wrong, with a number of serious problems. As a result, most builders look for air dried wood, but at the same time, most of the wood out there is kiln dried. The compromise I use is to try to have 3 or 4 years of wood in stock at all times so that the wood I use at any given time has been air dryingin my shop for at least three years. This should ensure wood that is up to my standards.

    Here's a link to he whole article;

    http://www.hoffmanguitars.com/woods.htm

    My wood selections are much like your own, as defined by this sentence copied from your post above;

    "
    I was presented with 10 sets to choose among. Sonically, he felt they were all equal (but remember, they were selected by him) and the choice at this point was aesthetic in the end."

    Much like yourself, I rely upon the experience and the insight of expert wood purveyors and luthiers . . then I make my choices based upon aesthetics . . without sacrificing tone.


    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  10. #59

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    Patrick,

    I wasn't so much debating, but trying to illustrate some of my earlier points. I understand that others come to the conversation with different experiences and opinions.

    Regarding how wood changes over time, it is actually fairly well understood. Beyond the unbound moisture that is removed during the kiln drying process, the 6-8% moisture remaining is mostly bound moisture within the cells. This wood is adequately dry to build a heavier built factory guitar. Luthiers tend to build for performance and in many cases that means lighter. So adequately physically stable for a factory guitar, may not be adequate for a more lightly built instrument.

    New Hampshire luthier Alan Carruth wrote a very nice synopsis regarding the chemical and physical changes that occur over time.

    "One thing we know happens over time in wood is that the hemicellulose degrades. The structural part of wood consists of about 50% cellulose, a very stable long-chain polysaccharide, with the rest being aboutequal parts lignin, which acts as a "glue", and hemicellulose, a branched chain polysaccharide, that acts more or less as a 'filler'. The 'loose ends' of the hemicellulose break down chemically into CO2 and H2O over time, and the wood gets a little less dense and stiff as a result. This is a slow process, and it's not known as yet whether it's effected by stress or vibration. One outcome of this is that spruce tends to become more opaque over time, and the small voids left by the dissappearing HC reflect light."

    Alan is a scientific, facts based guy and a straight shooter. These are the changes in spruce that companies like Bourgeois, Collings, Huss & Dalton and now CF Martin (at NAMM this year) are trying to accelerate by the use of torrefaction. Now to be fair, I don't think the rate kinetics of change (e.g. 20 years, 50 years) and how environmental conditions influence these are well understood and in instruments the sonic impact is always confounded with the mechanical effects of play.

    We're in absolute agreement that most of the sonic outcome is driven by the 1) builder, their design and execution; followed by 2) the top wood selection; and lastly 3) the back, side, neck tonewoods used. I think I said this earlier in the thread.

    We have gone a bit down the thread rabbit hole. My point to you is when you get wood from an experienced luthier they have chosen the wood using important sensory skills that have been developed over decades that dictate the sonic potential of a top or back/sides. That is an added value of informed selection that an individual like you or I or a factory cannot have due to the realities of supplying hundreds or thousands of sets a year. Most lifetime luthiers build <400 to as many as 2,000 in rare examples (guys like Buscarino, Greven and Olson).


    Last edited by iim7V7IM7; 02-15-2015 at 02:15 PM.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  11. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    Patrick,

    I wasn't so much debating, but trying to illustrate some of my earlier points. I understand that others come to the conversation with different experiences and opinions.

    Regarding how wood changes over time, it is actually fairly well understood. Beyond the unbound moisture that is removed during the kiln drying process, the 6-8% moisture remaining is mostly bound moisture within the cells. This wood is adequately dry to build a heavier built factory guitar. Luthiers tend to build for performance and in many cases that means lighter. So adequately physically stable for a factory guitar, may not be adequate for a more lightly built instrument.

    New Hampshire luthier Alan Carruth wrote a very nice synopsis regarding the chemical and physical changes that occur over time.

    "One thing we know happens over time in wood is that the hemicellulose degrades. The structural part of wood consists of about 50% cellulose, a very stable long-chain polysaccharide, with the rest being aboutequal parts lignin, which acts as a "glue", and hemicellulose, a branched chain polysaccharide, that acts more or less as a 'filler'. The 'loose ends' of the hemicellulose break down chemically into CO2 and H2O over time, and the wood gets a little less dense and stiff as a result. This is a slow process, and it's not known as yet whether it's effected by stress or vibration. One outcome of this is that spruce tends to become more opaque over time, and the small voids left by the dissappearing HC reflect light."

    Alan is a scientific, facts based guy and a straight shooter. These are the changes in spruce that companies like Bourgeois, Collings, Huss & Dalton and now CF Martin (at NAMM this year) are trying to accelerate by the use of torrefaction. Now to be fair, I don't think the rate kinetics of change (e.g. 20 years, 50 years) and how environmental conditions influence these are well understood and in instruments the sonic impact is always confounded with the mechanical effects of play.

    We're in absolute agreement that most of the sonic outcome is driven by the 1) builder, their design and execution; followed by 2) the top wood selection; and lastly 3) the back, side, neck tonewoods used. I think I said this earlier in the thread.

    We have gone a bit down the thread rabbit hole. My point to you is when you get wood from an experienced luthier they have chosen the wood using important sensory skills that have been developed over decades that dictate the sonic potential of a top or back/sides. That is an added value of informed selection that an individual like you or I or a factory cannot have due to the realities of supplying hundreds or thousands of sets a year. Most lifetime luthiers build <400 to as many as 2,000 in rare examples (guys like Buscarino, Greven and Olson).


    I'm in total agreement with everything you said here. But, I still have to wonder . . how long is long enough? We agree that each tree . . and even each billet from the same tree, is inherently different. So then, would one billet need 3 years, another 5 . . another 10 . . even if from the same tree? Do you suggest that luthiers just continue to buy and age tonewood for a decade, or even longer, just to make sure that their erring on the side of safety to cover the differences? Do luthiers discount the further aging that takes place after the guitar is constructed? Let's not forget, even though the edges are bound and the top is somewhat sealed with a topical coating . . the entire underside of the top and back plates are still unfinished, raw, exposed and subject to further aging. Aging with the added enhancement of resonating from string vibration. The luthiers you and I have mentioned here are all, more than likely, very capable of detecting a set of planks readiness for carving just from the feel and tone response from knuckle tapping.

    Also, how much better will tonewood sound, if the aging process after the build and during playing, began when the wood was kiln dried (properly) to the point of the remaining 6% to 8% . . . as opposed to further aging and the natural removal of that 6% to 8% of residual moisture? These are great questions . . and IMO, probably can't be answered with scientific certainty . . due to the very nature of the inconsistencies of tonewood from billet, to billet, to billet.

    At some point, ya gotta just build the guitar. Hopefully, you're not the type of a person that would have a guitar built from a 5 year old set of properly aged spruce and maple . . then lay awake at night wondering how much better it might have sounded if the planks aged another 5 years. I'm just not sure you, or I or even Fido the Beagle Hound would be able to here a difference.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  12. #61

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    "So then, would one billet need 3 years, another 5 . . another 10 . . even if from the same tree? Do you suggest that luthiers just continue to buy and age tonewood for a decade, or even longer, just to make sure that their erring on the side of safety to cover the differences? Do luthiers discount the further aging that takes place after the guitar is constructed?"

    Patrick, for what its worth, I am not in the habit of challenging luthier's whom I work with on their material selection and construction practices. I enjoy these collaborations and look at them as opportunities to listen and learn from master craftsmen. I have attempted, obviously unsuccessfully to share some what I have learned with the forum.

    "Also, mere mortal individuals like myself are easily as capable of finding and buying the best wood available. I've done so myself on two separate occasions. The last one was the best. The wood I got for my Heritage Super Golden Eagle is easily equivalent to anything that Benedetto, Buscarino, Comins, Monteleone, Lacey . . or any other top luthier could have gotten."

    This whole lengthy circular series of questions started because I disagreed with you that the skills required for successful wood selection required skills that lay people and wood purveyors do not possess. You also went on to say that your wood was "equal" to that of a number of great luthiers. I have again unsuccessfully tried to articulate why I respectfully disagree with you.

    "Further, any luthier unwilling to warranty a guitar he/she builds if the customer supplies the wood . . . well, they just ain't worth their salt . . as the saying goes. Any competent luthier would be able to look at a set of planks and determin if they're build worthy or not."

    You went on to suggest the luthiers who told me that they don't like to use client supplied woods and it can impact their ability to warranty aren't "worth their salt". Again, I happen to disagree with you and I would suggest you don't have an equal level of knowledge to inform them about long-term structural risks as they do. I trust their judgement on such things. They have made these decisions based on bad experiences.

    "At some point, ya gotta just build the guitar. Hopefully, you're not the type of a person that would have a guitar built from a 5 year old set of properly aged spruce and maple . . then lay awake at night wondering how much better it might have sounded if the planks aged another 5 years. I'm just not sure you, or I or even Fido the Beagle Hound would be able to here a difference."

    You now suggest that the thoughts that I shared are esoteric and beyond the point of diminishing returns (I am being kind, you were a bit more making fun of what you disagree with). Again, we simply disagree. My efforts to try explain how I felt the wood that they used was never based on aging alone. It was one aspect. It was always on their ability to select wood with potential. The age aspect does have to do with stability in more lightly built guitars than factory guitars, I also tried to illustrate that it has to do with availability. There are woods that just aren't available any longer.

    I have now been fortunate enough to have commissioned 10 custom guitars with 8 different luthiers. Each collaboration has been an extremely positive and highly educational experience. Based on my experience, I believe in the mastery of a solo luthier, skilled in the art to create a superior instrument. Part of that process is wood selection by a "master". That's been my experience and it is the basis of my opinion.

    In closing, we can just disagree and you can go on thinking what you'd like on the subject of tonewood and custom luthiery. Forum members can read opposing points of view and make up their own minds. We surely aren't going to convince each other.


    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  13. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    I am not in the habit of challenging luthier's whom I work with on their material selection and construction practices. I enjoy these collaborations and look at them as opportunities to listen and learn from master craftsmen. I have attempted, obviously unsuccessfully to share some what I have learned with the forum.
    Believe me, your efforts have not been in vain. Your contributions have been most welcome and enlightening.

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    "So then, would one billet need 3 years, another 5 . . another 10 . . even if from the same tree? Do you suggest that luthiers just continue to buy and age tonewood for a decade, or even longer, just to make sure that their erring on the side of safety to cover the differences? Do luthiers discount the further aging that takes place after the guitar is constructed?"

    Patrick, for what its worth, I am not in the habit of challenging luthier's whom I work with on their material selection and construction practices. I enjoy these collaborations and look at them as opportunities to listen and learn from master craftsmen. I have attempted, obviously unsuccessfully to share some what I have learned with the forum.

    I certainly didn't intend for this to become contentious. But, if that's where it's destined to go, I'll need to offer my responses. I never suggested you should challenge anyone. Re read the sentences you highlighted. I don't see where I ever asked you to challenge anyone. You've not been unsuccessful in sharing some of what you learned. You've been unsuccessful in convincing me that what you've learned should be taken as an undeniable fact and not subject to further question or discussion.


    "Also, mere mortal individuals like myself are easily as capable of finding and buying the best wood available. I've done so myself on two separate occasions. The last one was the best. The wood I got for my Heritage Super Golden Eagle is easily equivalent to anything that Benedetto, Buscarino, Comins, Monteleone, Lacey . . or any other top luthier could have gotten."

    This whole lengthy circular series of questions started because I disagreed with you that the skills required for successful wood selection required skills that lay people and wood purveyors do not possess. You also went on to say that your wood was "equal" to that of a number of great luthiers. I have again unsuccessfully tried to articulate why I respectfully disagree with you.

    Here again, you've not been unsuccessful in articulating why you respectfully disagree with me. The problem is . . you think I said that I as a lay person have the skills to select the best tonewoods. I thought I estabished that I chose my woods with the assistance of experts. But, you seem convinced that your experts are the only ones to be respected. I stand firm in my belief that the wood that I sourced is every bit as good as what any or your esteemed luthiers might have chosen or accepted. I stand on that belief based upon what my own experts, whom I trust and believe every bit as much as you do yours, have told me when they assessed the wood that I had sent to them. I said that I could source the best . . not that I could select the best without assistance of those far more knowledgeable than myself.


    "Further, any luthier unwilling to warranty a guitar he/she builds if the customer supplies the wood . . . well, they just ain't worth their salt . . as the saying goes. Any competent luthier would be able to look at a set of planks and determin if they're build worthy or not."

    You went on to suggest the luthiers who told me that they don't like to use client supplied woods and it can impact their ability to warranty aren't "worth their salt". Again, I happen to disagree with you and I would suggest you don't have an equal level of knowledge to inform them about long-term structural risks as they do. I trust their judgement on such things. They have made these decisions based on bad experiences

    Not sure why you want to twist my words, but what I said was . . any luthier who could not determin if a spruce top set or a maple back set was worthy of working with and therefore warrantable wasn't worth his/her salt. I stand by that statement. So here's a copy from post #50, of what I actually said

    "Further, any luthier unwilling to warranty a guitar he/she builds if the customer supplies the wood . . . well, they just ain't worth their salt . . as the saying goes. Any competent luthier would be able to look at a set of planks and determin if they're build worthy or not. If a customer were to supply the wood to a luthier, the luthier would be free to reject that wood . . just as they are free to do so when the wood is provided to them by their existing supplier."

    "At some point, ya gotta just build the guitar. Hopefully, you're not the type of a person that would have a guitar built from a 5 year old set of properly aged spruce and maple . . then lay awake at night wondering how much better it might have sounded if the planks aged another 5 years. I'm just not sure you, or I or even Fido the Beagle Hound would be able to here a difference."

    You now suggest that the thoughts that I shared are esoteric and beyond the point of diminishing returns (I am being kind, you were a bit more making fun of what you disagree with). Again, we simply disagree. My efforts to try explain how I felt the wood that they used was never based on aging alone. It was one aspect. It was always on their ability to select wood with potential. The age aspect does have to do with stability in more lightly built guitars than factory guitars, I also tried to illustrate that it has to do with availability. There are woods that just aren't available any longer.

    Here again, you either twist my words or read into them as you wish to. I wasn't making fun of you. I wouldn't dare to do so. (Should I have put a smilely face at the end of that sentence?) You're knowledge is absolutely credible and seems to be more extensive than my own. I offer you no disagreement that age is relavent to stability. I only questioned how much age is enough. I've said that repeatedly, as well as posting links to other experts who pose similar questions. Nothing more, nothing less.


    I have now been fortunate enough to have commissioned 10 custom guitars with 8 different luthiers. Each collaboration has been an extremely positive and highly educational experience. Based on my experience, I believe in the mastery of a solo luthier, skilled in the art to create a superior instrument. Part of that process is wood selection by a "master". That's been my experience and it is the basis of my opinion.

    Again, no disagreement . . until we get to the point of who you do, or do not except as a credible "master", capable of effectively assessing tonewood. You seem to think your guys are the final word on the matter. I choose to continue to absorb knowledge from where ever I can . . even from you. Because you've gotten your knowledge from true masters. I do respect that. I can't seem to get you to respect the fact that I've gotten my knowledge from those who I consider to be masters as well. I'd be very hard pressed to believe that any of your esteemed luthiers would reject spruce that Aaron Cowles indicated was top quality. Or, Jim Deurloo, JP Moats? These guys too were/are masters. The guy who selected the spruce for my arch tops, Brent from Alaska Specialty Wood had the knowledge passed down from his family . . . then further learnd when master luthiers would order top and back plate sets from him . . told him what they were looking for and why. So, while not a master luthier . . Brent is indeed an expert in tonewood. Could your guys have chosen something better than what I received from Brent . . and was approved of by my luthier? Probably. But, how much better would the wood have been? How much better would the guitar have sounded? There is NO master luthier on the face of the earth who could ever answer that question definitively. So, again . . . how long does one seek out what *might* be the best wood on the planet before he just goes with what those he trusts says is great wood?


    In closing, we can just disagree and you can go on thinking what you'd like on the subject of tonewood and custom luthiery. Forum members can read opposing points of view and make up their own minds.We surely aren't going to convince each other.

    So I guess that's the crux of it. I'm really not trying to convince you of a damn thing here. But, you're trying to convince me that you're right and I'm wrong.




    Hopefully, I've done this quote thing correctly and my replies will show in blue typ above.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  15. #64

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    Patrick,

    You have officially succeeded in making me not want to participate here any longer. (congratulations!)

    It just becomes exhausting going endlessly back-and-forth; and as a result, it no longer any fun. I come here to have fun, learn and share with others with similar interests. In short, I come here to have a two-way dialogue and not to debate or argue. If this was a dinner party, I would have quietly excused myself and left a while ago to go home; or more likely, the polite hosts might have asked you to leave.

    In lieu of that, I bid the forum adieu.

    Bob
    __________________________________________________ ____________________________________
    Bob


  16. #65

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    Wow!! We went from a discussion about your opinions on tonewood as compared to my own . . . with no vitriolic posts by either of us . . . . all the way to . . . . "if I can't convince you that I'm right on this, and you don't agree with me, I'm going to quit the forum"??? What's up with that?? Who are you and what did you do with the real iim7V7IM7. Am I to accept that only your own opinon is valid, or you quit the forum?? I'm really surprised, I meant you no offense, and I hope you'll reconsider.
    Patrick2 . . Heritage representative (now former)

  17. #66

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    looks to me like a friendly debate about extreme esoterica, then one party became weary of it, and proceeded to blame the other party for his weariness.

    doesn't really seem fair.

  18. #67
    Some people haven't yet learned that when a thread starts going sideways it's best to ignore it and move on.

  19. #68
    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    doesn't really seem fair.
    I'm with you on this but a little surprised at your using the word "fair". :-)

    (That one's off-limits with my kids. They know that they will get the groan-inducing comment from dad about using the "F word" in our house.

    What's the fun of being a dad, after all, if you can't tell the worst jokes in the house?)

    There's gotta be more to it than this thread.

  20. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt.guitarteacher View Post
    I'm with you on this but a little surprised at your using the word "fair". :-)

    (That one's off-limits with my kids. They know that they will get the groan-inducing comment from dad about using the "F word" in our house.

    What's the fun of being a dad, after all, if you can't tell the worst jokes in the house?)

    There's gotta be more to it than this thread.
    Really? Why are you surprised?

    Also curious about the objection to the word "fair". What's wrong with that word? Obama uses it all the time so its perfectly PC and current.

  21. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    Really? Why are you surprised?

    Also curious about the objection to the word "fair". What's wrong with that word? Obama uses it all the time so its perfectly PC and current.
    I didn't mean anything nasty. Smiley face included and all...

  22. #71

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    sure, sure.

    i guess i believe in the concept of tough but fair. tough seems to be out of vogue these days...

  23. #72

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    "Esotericism (or esoterism) signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group of those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest." Wikipedia

    I think this concept applies to tonewoods and luthiery appropriately, I do not understand why it is offensive to state it as such. We know that people with special hearing abilities are in the minority, from those even smaller numbers are trained to distinguish finer nuances. Even those with so called golden ears are limited with the hardware of human hearing apparatus leading to psychoacoustic phenomena and auditory illusions (to which nobody is immune).

    Of course, people are free to believe what they hear and assign subjective quality, value and price as they choose. Other people can pay the price or accept the value/quality with or without applying critical thinking ("toughness of mind" vs "fairness in freedom of choice" :-).

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by iim7V7IM7 View Post
    Patrick,

    You have officially succeeded in making me not want to participate here any longer. (congratulations!)

    It just becomes exhausting going endlessly back-and-forth; and as a result, it no longer any fun. I come here to have fun, learn and share with others with similar interests. In short, I come here to have a two-way dialogue and not to debate or argue. If this was a dinner party, I would have quietly excused myself and left a while ago to go home; or more likely, the polite hosts might have asked you to leave.

    In lieu of that, I bid the forum adieu.

    Bob
    A Modest Proposal

    To avoid recurrences of this unfortunate result, I have a modest proposal.

    Future arguments re: guitar performance and tonal debates will not be settled by the contestants themselves, but by their appointed champions, to be known as "Chevaliers de Lutherie". The medieval practice of contest by champions has much to recommend it.

    These intrepid luthiers shall meet at dawn, on a level playing field, accompanied by the contestants, and their seconds. The choice of weapons shall be selected from (i) spoke sharpeners--to be hurled from 20 paces, (ii) cudgels--to be prepared from an agreed upon warehouse of tone woods, to be selected by the champion himself--or in consultation with the client/purchaser, (iii) spray guns--with nitrocellulose bursts from 5 paces, or (iv) invective--to be hurled from afar in digital assault.

    In the case of (iv), the person who leaves the field of battle first shall be declared the loser by forfeit. In the case of (iii), a suitable jurisdiction of battle shall be selected, which may not be (A) California due to environmental regulations prohibiting the use of nitrocellulose, or (B) New Jersey, due to its unfortunate reputation as the home of "The Sopranos", as well as unfortunate historical connotations surrounding dueling, as Aaron Burr fled to Weehawken, NJ after killing Alexander Hamilton in 1804.

    Readers of this proposal are warned in advance that one of my personal heroes is Jonathan Swift, who, when asked what he wrote about, replied, if memory serves "Sir, my subject is satire....that way I never want for subject matter."

  25. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77 View Post
    A Modest Proposal

    To avoid recurrences of this unfortunate result, I have a modest proposal.

    Future arguments re: guitar performance and tonal debates will not be settled by the contestants themselves, but by their appointed champions, to be known as "Chevaliers de Lutherie". The medieval practice of contest by champions has much to recommend it.

    These intrepid luthiers shall meet at dawn, on a level playing field, accompanied by the contestants, and their seconds. The choice of weapons shall be selected from (i) spoke sharpeners--to be hurled from 20 paces, (ii) cudgels--to be prepared from an agreed upon warehouse of tone woods, to be selected by the champion himself--or in consultation with the client/purchaser, (iii) spray guns--with nitrocellulose bursts from 5 paces, or (iv) invective--to be hurled from afar in digital assault.

    In the case of (iv), the person who leaves the field of battle first shall be declared the loser by forfeit. In the case of (iii), a suitable jurisdiction of battle shall be selected, which may not be (A) California due to environmental regulations prohibiting the use of nitrocellulose, or (B) New Jersey, due to its unfortunate reputation as the home of "The Sopranos", as well as unfortunate historical connotations surrounding dueling, as Aaron Burr fled to Weehawken, NJ after killing Alexander Hamilton in 1804.

    Readers of this proposal are warned in advance that one of my personal heroes is Jonathan Swift, who, when asked what he wrote about, replied, if memory serves "Sir, my subject is satire....that way I never want for subject matter."
    Very reasonable and well thought out!

    Thank you. This is definitely my "post of the week". :-)

  26. #75

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    I can state with experience that Heritage will truly customize an instrument to your needs if you go through the effort of fully discussing this with them. You have to get their attention though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    Patrick,
    Actually I am surprised that Heritage would spend that much time and custom effort with individual customers. While this isn't represented on their website (there was a 'contact us' to discuss an instrument) you've been in the middle of this and I'm sure you know how it works. Thing is, as a business model this would seem tough for a small operation to sustain if there are lots of customers on the phone wanting a unique neck profile and looking for their shading to be just a certain way. Even more so if they show up at the front door wanting to look over someone's shoulder.

    I would also be surprised if Gibson does this. Especially for someone walking off the street. It's an expensive way to do business if your margins depend on a given volume and would have to be managed.

    I realize you have a unique insight into Heritage and while the passion of their craftsmen comes as no surprise, the amount of time they can spend with individual customers and still remain profitable does.

    That doesn't change what I would do if I were spending $5K or more on an archtop, but it's interesting.
    MG

  27. #76

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    Jim Soloway recently went through the customization process with Heritage and came out with what he felt were real winners.

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by mercosound View Post
    Although the guitars in this video are flat-top acoustics - not arch-tops - it's a good example of sound produced by various woods:

    Has anyone seen an equivalent video where someone plays 4-6 examples of the same guitar model and woods?

  29. #78

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrome View Post
    Has anyone seen an equivalent video where someone plays 4-6 examples of the same guitar model and woods?
    That doesn't work though because you can get the same guitar, made by the same woods to sound totally different.

  30. #79

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    That is exactly what I would like to hear. How wide is the range of sound for guitars that are "identical"?

  31. #80

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrome View Post
    That is exactly what I would like to hear. How wide is the range of sound for guitars that are "identical"?
    In my experience (at least with the guitars we built), the range exists but is limited enough to hear a general tonal characteristic that is easily identified.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchtopHeaven View Post
    That doesn't work though because you can get the same guitar, made by the same woods to sound totally different.
    That has rarely been my experience (assuming the same player and set up). Somewhat different? Yes. Totally different? No.
    My CD "Bare Handed" is available as a download at Bandcamp.com
    http://jimsoloway.bandcamp.com/album/bare-handed

  33. #82

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    Guitar tonewood is like photography!

    Same lens, same camera, same film. Take the same picture twice but move slightly between them and the colours tones will be different.

    Same design, same luthier, same chisels. Take the same wood, split it twice and make two guitars and the tonal colours will be different.

    Pass the cheese
    “When a wise man points at the moon the fool considers the finger.”

  34. #83

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    I don't know jack about tonewoods or building guitars, but this seemed germain. Ola describes a high school science project his son did. There are some good links in the comments, and of course, one vitriolic jerk.

    The impact of wood choice in an electric guitar | Strandberg Guitarworks
    Last edited by boognish23; 02-23-2015 at 03:44 PM.

  35. #84

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    I like Chrome's idea about a comparison of different guitars that are the same model/woods. That would be cool - don't know anyone who could pull that off.

    As a hearsay anecdote, I recently spoke with a friend of mine who once fronted some cash to a local independent instrument dealer so that he could buy 10 Martin guitars (some sort of traditional style D18's, I believe), and get a quantity discount. In return, my friend got the "pick of the litter", at cost. I asked him if it was difficult to decide which instrument to choose, and he said that no, it wasn't difficult at all, implying that the differences were less than subtle. Not a surprise, but a confirmation.

    It's great that so many instruments are available for purchase on line, but sometimes I miss the days when you were blown away by one that you met "in person".

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrome View Post
    Has anyone seen an equivalent video where someone plays 4-6 examples of the same guitar model and woods?
    These guys do tons of comparisons that that attempt to highlight a single difference (e.g., body woods) in otherwise very similar guitars.

    Acoustic Guitar Comparisons

    I've listened to a bunch of 'em through headphones with my eyes closed (OK, so I peek a little ...). I mostly find it very hard to tell the difference.

    John

  37. #86

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    Great article and video. My take is that alder lows and swamp ash lows are similarly full, but alder has fuller, rounder highs than swamp ash. In this test the high E sounded dead with swamp ash, even though it's the same string.

    The koa in this test had tighter, less boomy bass, but the high E string test was inconsistent (it still sounded fuller than the swamp ash high E). If You prefer middles, koa might be good.

    The Zebrano highs and lows had more resonance, a richer set of overtones that sounded almost like a very, very subtle chorus effect. Very nice indeed to my ears, but some people might not like it.

    Summary of what I got from this test:
    - Alder, nice all around sound,
    - Swamp ash, ok bass but muted highs,
    - Koa, focused vibrant middle overtones and tighter bass,
    - Zebrano, rich set of pleasing overtones, lush sounding.

    Just my $0.02